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Spies holds off Smrz for record breaking pole

Ben Spies has swept to his second consecutive World Superbike pole position after setting a stunning record-breaking pace at Losail, Qatar.

The American has been on stellar form throughout the weekend, but continued to surpass his rookie status as he pumped in a single lap of 1min 57.280secs during the top eight shootout.

It means he has smashed Troy Corser's existing lap record, also set on a Yamaha, by eight tenths of a second, even if Max Biaggi had initially lowered it to a 1min 57.8secs during Q2 a few minutes earlier.

A second consecutive pole position for the Texan, his efforts in the Middle East are arguably more impressive than on his debut in Australia, Spies having arrived in Qatar without any prior knowledge of the Losail circuit.

Nonetheless, while he cut it rather fine during Q2 with the seventh quickest lap, he couldn't be touched during the shootout as he continued to re-write the rules for rookies in the World Superbike Championship.

Another enjoyable Superpole session fraught with the surprises indicative of the close competition in 2009, three of the front row starters from the first round in Australia would repeat their feats in Qatar, with Spies being joined by Jakub Smrz and Biaggi.

Smrz, who hinted at his potential with a fine lap in Q2, ran Spies surprisingly close on the privateer Guandalini Ducati, just one tenth behind. Another example of the Czech's remarkable one-lap pace, it remains to be seen whether he can carry that form through to the races.

Although he went quicker than his erstwhile lap record in the shootout, Biaggi was a distant third on the Aprilia, but was pleased with his efforts nonetheless, not least because it put him ahead of Noriyuki Haga on the leading factory Ducati.

To his credit, Haga sliced three seconds off his best lap from provisional qualifying when it mattered, the Japanese rider having only just sneaked into the shootout with a post-chequered flag lap. Still, despite Spies's evident advantage, having won from 13th in Australia, Haga will be feeling a little more confident today than he did this time two weeks ago.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Biaggi, Qatar WSBK 2009
Smrz, Qatar WSBK 2009
Spies, Qatar WSBK 2009
VD Mark, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
VD Mark, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
VD Mark, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
VD Mark, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Torres, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Torres, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Torres, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016
Sykes, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP tests.November 2016

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Racefan - Unregistered

March 13, 2009 1:32 PM

Oh dear, Yamaha have a new superstar, and in the series that everybody's really interested in. Valentino will be jealous. Wonder how long till he challenges Spies to a race! :?



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